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The power of user reviews

I am relatively new to Cincinnati and still rely on Google, Yelp and Urban Spoon to help me make everyday decisions.

Recently having gotten a rescue dog, I wanted to research some doggie day cares so that she could have fun while I’m at work. After searching for quite some time, I began to read the online reviews about the 2 places I was seriously considering.

One of them (which I won’t name) had the following negative reviews mixed in with a few positive ones:

– I drove by. The parking lot was full of trash and cans and broken bottles

– There were a few times that I overheard the owner screaming “GOD DAMMIT!” to the dogs and hear a lot of people screaming too, and I saw someone strike a dog behind the counter when he jumped up on the counter

– Today I received a call from them saying I needed to leave work to come pick up my other dog and take her to the vet because “they did not have enough people to take her”. Upon my arrival, my dog, who is also a very laidback, submissive girl, was obviously in pain and had an open wound on her side.

I will obviously not be taking LooLoo to the above daycare. Thank goodness I took the time to search for reviews. She will be going to Red Dog Pet Resort & Spa, which got FANTASTIC reviews  and I’m sure she will love it

How did people function prior to the internet?

I went home to Columbus this weekend and went down to the arena district to watch the OSU v USC game. Blah blah, I don’t want to talk about the football portion…what I WANT to talk about is the sousaphone player that whacked the cameraman upon doting the “I”. In the pre-Script Ohio interview, the senior sousaphone player said how since high school it was a dream for him to dot the “I”. The guy even changed instruments mid-high school so that he would have the chance to dot the “I” if he happened to play in the Ohio State University Marching Band. So what happens? The poor guy gets to the top of the “I”, takes of his hat, does the traditional bow and the stupid stupid cameraman gets too close to him and interferes with this guys shining moment. Watch below:

A few months ago I was curious as to when the new season of Friday Night Lights (FNL) would premiere. I became absolutely obsessed with the show last year and watched all the old episodes on Hulu. I was shocked when I saw on NBC’s site that it doesn’t premiere until SUMMER 2010. After tweeting my dismay, a fellow Cincinnatian informed me of some bad news. I went to DIRECTV’s website and found this:

DIRECTV and NBC Universal have extended their partnership to produce two more seasons of Friday Night Lights. All 26 episodes of the fourth and fifth seasons of the critically acclaimed and award-winning drama series will air first exclusively on The 101 Network, only on DIRECTV.

Lucky for me…I’m signed in on a one-year contract with Time Warner and therefore do not have DIRECTV which means no FNL!!!

How am I going to get through the fall FOOTBALL season without my favorite Coach Taylor, Tim Riggins and Matt Saracen?? If anyone finds an illegal upload of the shows (as they won’t appear on Hulu or any other legal place) let me know.

My last two blog posts for my company have been inspired by my recent travels to family weddings. This past weekend, I was in Portland, Oregon and learned some pretty cool stuff in my short time there including the following: (the original blog post can be found here: http://bit.ly/2NzJY

If you thought fish didn’t have the ability to be social creatures, think again. Imagine:

1) You decide you’re hungry for fish.

2) You go to a west coast grocery store.

3) You find a delicious piece of salmon.

4) You either:

  • scan your fish at the Pacific Fish Trax kiosk that is located near the fish case, or…
  • visit PacificFishTrax.org and enter the bar code…

    …to learn where and when that exact piece of fish was caught, and by whom.

The mission of Pacific Fish Trax is to “track information about West Coast fish and the community of people working together to sustain the fish and the local fisheries.” The “Find Your Fish” tool is the first of the consumer components on their site aimed at educating consumers on fishery and seafood management practices.

With the increased consumer desire to eat locally-produced products, this is a smart way to make people feel closer to their food. If I had one criticism, it would be that I want the option to click on the fisherman who caught my salmon so I could learn more about his fishing experience, why he joined this sustainability project and facts about that particular fishing excursion. Maybe this is because I’m a fan of Deadliest Catch on the Discovery Channel but I think it could bring a little more life to the already impressive offering.

Screen shot of the “Find Your Fish” map results:

The original post can be found here

While Southwest recently announced that they will have free Wi-Fi on every flight by early 2010, I decided that I wanted to make a little airline-related announcement of my own.

This weekend I flew Midwest Airlines and discovered that they serve free warm chocolate chip cookies on every flight. These cookies are legit; they are baked on-board and come straight out of the (airplane’s) oven and into your salivating mouth.

Warm chocolate chip cookies have been their signature snack since 1986 with the airline incorporating the cookie into various parts of the marketing campaign. There is such demand for these cookies that they now sell the secret-recipe dough in the frozen food aisle at select groceries in the Milwaukee area, where the airline is based.

Has anyone had a better free snack on a flight than this?

The following blog post was written for WonderGroup on August 19th and ruffled a few feathers. Read the comments here at the original posting site

With the majority of college students returning back to campus over the next few weeks, campus bookstores are rubbing their greedy little hands together, waiting for their helpless prey to file in and spend hundreds upon hundreds of dollars each on textbooks. (Of course the smart thing to do is wait a few weeks until you are 100% sure you HAVE to buy the book– many books from my first few years of college were deemed useless by the end of the semester.)

Josh Catone wrote a blog on Mashable called “Digital Textbooks: 3 Reasons Students Aren’t Ready.” No offense Josh, but you look at least 32… so I decided to put my recently-graduated-from-college two cents into this story.

Catone points out some of the good things about digital textbooks: they’re potentially cheaper, they’re better for the environment, they weigh less, they can be updated more easily and they’re more easily searched. I agree x 5. Moving on to Catone’s “3 Reasons Students Aren’t Ready:”

Cost Savings Must be Greater

In theory, digital textbooks should be cheaper as costs associated with physically printing, binding, warehousing and shipping the books are eliminated. In practice, the cost savings are minuscule. Look at what Catone found: “Human Biology” published by Pearson costs about $50 used and $80 news. The digital version costs $70 (which is only a 12.5% savings for those of you who are scared of math like me) AND the electronic version is automatically deleted after 180 days. This last part leads to Catone’s second point:

Questions of Ownership

So let me get this straight… I paid $70 for a digital version of my textbooks and I can’t even keep them past 180 days? At least with a new or used tangible copy of the book I can keep it as reference, sell it back from some money or donate it to one of the numerous causes, like Books for Africa, that take educational materials over to those would otherwise have no educational material at all!

A Standard Format is Needed

There is no standard format for digital textbooks yet, potentially limiting students on which required course they can buy based on the compatibility with their reader or software. It would be a huge bummer to invest in a Kindle DX or an Apple Tablet only to find that one of your five course books can be viewed on it.

So if it won’t save me much money, I don’t get to keep it, sell it back or donate it to a good cause AND I might not be able to view it– on top of having to ALSO buy a reader to view these digital textbooks– why in the world would I buy these? To be trendy? No thanks, give me the real thing please.

What is the ultimate test for a couple? In my opinion, it is a road trip.

I’ll be leaving on an 11-hour road trip with my boyfriend to Rehoboth Beach, Delaware to visit a friend that works at Dogfish Head Brewery (Yay Festina Peche beer!!).

On past drives together (short drives, I mean we’re talking 2-hours on our way to Columbus here) we have ended up not speaking to one another because of our conflicts over the following topics:

1) Men like the A/C on full blast…the entire time

For menopausal women, this would be fine but I’m far from being menopausal. I try to be stealth and turn the knob down a single notch when I think Brian isn’t looking but I always get caught. It gets cold to the point where I, as the driver, am shivering and my fingers are numb on the wheel. This is not safe. Therefore, after discussing this problem with a friend of mine, I will be bringing a blanket to wear in the car for this trip. How will I be able to wear a blanket in the car? Please refer down to the next point.

2) Men criticize women drivers

I will be able to wear a blanket because I will be the PASSENGER for the entire trip. The best way to avoid being criticized for my driving is to not to drive at all!

Note to all men – Don’t you dare grip the side of the car or grab the over-head handle as if we are going to kill everyone in the car. We are perfectly capable of driving without going over the right edge of the road AND we are less likely to get pulled over for speeding so be thankful that you aren’t getting a $150 ticket buddy. Do I have facts to support this? No..but that’s beyond the point.

3) Men fart

This might be the worst of the three. I haven’t really found a solution to this problem as men of all ages still think it is funny to pass gas and watch everyone (especially the women)  suffer. I have somewhat accepted the fact that the occasional noxious smell will fill up the cabin of the automobile, forcing me to open the windows, stick my head out (while still screaming obscenities) and get my hair in a tangled/knotted mess.

What I hope is that the boy and I will have an enjoyable drive and that we both won’t come back 5lbs+ heavier due to the all-you-can-eat crab and the pints of Festina Peche beer that we will be consuming